Guidance for landlords on Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in privately rented homes
This guidance is for landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic properties on complying with the 2018 ‘Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency’ (MEES) standard.
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015 establish a minimum level of energy efficiency for privately rented property in England and Wales. From April 2018, landlords in England or Wales must ensure that their properties reach at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E before granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants.
An EPC contains information about a property’s energy use, its typical energy costs, and recommends how to reduce energy use in order to cut costs. An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.
The MEES requirements will eventually apply to all private rented properties in England and Wales, even where there has been no change in tenancy arrangements. These regulations will take effect from:
- 1 April 2020 for domestic properties
- 1 April 2023 for non-domestic properties
What do landlords need to do?
Under the Energy Act 2016, landlords must:
1. Have an EPC and provide a copy to tenants whenever they rent their properties out.
2. Ensure all rented homes have at least an E rating on the EPC:
- From 1 April 2019 – all tenancies starting new or renewing after this date must have at least an E-rating on the property's EPC by law or have spent a minimum of £3,500 on trying to achieve an E rating.
- From 1 April 2020 – all other privately rented homes (i.e. those on continued leases) must have at least an E-rating on the EPC to be lawfully let out.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure they meet these requirements and have an EPC rated E or above as evidence that their property is legal to rent out, unless the property is exempt. Further guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website and from the Resident Landlords Association.
What should landlords do next?
- Landlords must ensure there is a valid EPC when marketing a property for rent.
- If a new tenancy is being created the property must have an minimum energy efficiency rating of E, unless there is a valid exemption.
- Tenants should receive a copy of the EPC when they move in.
- If the energy rating is F or G, Landlords must act now to make improvements to the property to bring it into compliance.
Full guidance on the HHSRS for Landlords and Property Related Professionals has been created. There is also a guide to the Private Rental Sector Minimum Standards.
What should tenants do?
- Tenants should receive a copy of the EPC when they move in.
- Tenants can check the rating of their property
- If you believe the property does not meet the requirements please check your EPC rating and contact us.
What Energy Efficiency Measures need to be installed?
The MEES Regulations introduce the idea of recommended energy efficiency improvements based upon an EPC rating. These measures or package of measures include those which can be purchased and installed for £3,500 or less (including VAT).
The report can include the recommendations section of your EPC, a report prepared by a qualified survey or a Green Deal Advice Report (GDAR).
If you have installed all ‘relevant energy efficiency improvements’ for your property and, afterwards, the EPC rating is still below E, you will be able to register an exemption on the grounds that ‘all relevant improvements have been made and the property remains below an E’.
There are specific exemptions that landlords may apply for. There are 6 exemptions which can be registered:
- Where improvements up to the value of £3500 have been made and the property still can not achieve an E rating
- High Cost exemption. Where the cheapest improvement works exceed £3500 (no low cost measures are available).
- Wall insulation isn’t suitable
- Third party consent denied, ie Local Planning Authority, freeholder etc
- Property devaluation
- 6 month temporary exemption for a new landlord
All exemptions must be registered on the national PRS exemptions register. Guidance can be found on exemptions and Exemptions Register evidence requirements. This shows you how to register your exemption.
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
HMOs are not excluded from the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES). MEES applies to all domestic and non-domestic properties, where:
- there is a legal requirement to have an EPC
- the property is let (including the letting of individual rooms) on a relevant tenancy type
- Individual rooms within an HMO will not need an EPC. The building as a whole may need one if it was built, sold or rented out in the past 10 years.
Historic and listed buildings
Historic Buildings, Listed Buildings or buildings within a conservation area are exempt if: "compliance with the minimum energy requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance". This is not a blanket exemption, it may still be possible to make improvements. This is only possible where the character or appearance is not altered. Unacceptable alterations in the majority of protected buildings would be:
- Double Glazing
- New Doors and Windows
- External Wall insulation
- External boiler flues
There are many more low impact measures that may be acceptable. The onus is on the owner to understand which works may, or may not, be permitted on their property. When applying for an exemption, owners will need to evidence that:
- all recommended measures on their EPC would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the building, and,
- that none of the recommended measures could be carried out to improve the energy efficiency of the building
Owners of such properties should seek advice from Planning Department. They may be able to provide evidence for an exemption based on planning approval. They will investigate the likelihood of obtaining planning permission, or listed building consent.
Funding for improvements
In some circumstances funding may be available to cover the cost or provide a contribution to the improvement works. This funding is available through different providers. You may want to explore the different areas of funding before starting any improvement works. There is an online tool available to assist with improving energy efficiency in the home. Please visit the Simple Energy Advice website to explore the availability of funding. Advice about funding can also be found by contacting the following organisations:
Last updated: 01 March 2022